MERRILL HOLLANDER, SVP OF MERCHANDISING
With a blue-chip retail resume featuring key merchandising roles at three of New York’s luxury ‘majors’ – Bloomies, Bergdorf and Saks – Merrill is ideal for her new gig as SVP of merchandising here at Retail Czar. She is excited to bring some of the most innovative and exciting brands in Beauty and Wellness to the site, and to share her knowledge, tips and expertise with our customers. So, with that in mind, we scheduled an appointment with Merrill in the Retail Czar virtual spa to find out more.
RC: Where did you grow up?
MH: I am a native New Yorker, born and raised in Rockaway Beach.
RC: What led you to choose a career in retail?
MH: After college, I went to the New York School of Interior Design and I started my career in the Home division at Bergdorf Goodman. I have always loved beautiful, unique items that allow individuals to express themselves. Retail has been a great career choice for me. Some of my favorite memories are the buying trips I enjoyed with co-workers. Traveling + great people is a winning combination.
RC: How did you get involved with Retail Czar?
MH: I’ve known Tom Ott (President of Retail Czar) for a long time. We worked together at Saks for about 15 years, and when he asked me to join the Retail Czar revolution, I jumped at the opportunity. We offer customers special, curated merchandise from different vendors vs the brands we’ve all been shopping from for years. It’s been really fun to discover talented, different, exciting resources and bring them to our site.
RC: What do you look for when evaluating a new line, or a new vendor in market?
MH: I look for emotions – both coming from me and from the creators presenting the line. I’ve had so many love affairs with products and brands in my career, especially in the Beauty and Home spaces. When you feel passionate about something, it’s much easier to buy it and to sell it.
RC: Remote working is a big part of life these days. As an expert in the beauty biz, what is your tip for looking good on Zoom?
MH: Make-up has not part of my quarantine routine during the pandemic, so it’s all about great skincare for me. If your skin feels good, then you look good. I’m obsessed with The Organic Pharmacy from London, and of course their line is available on our site. Although the brand has been around for a while, it’s new to me and I love what it has done for my skin.
RC: What’s one surprising thing that most people don’t know about you?
MH: I am really into astrology. I have been speaking with an astrologer for years. She’s amazing and so insightful. When we decided that we were launching Retail Czar on Thursday, September 3rd, I consulted my astrologer. Based on the astrological chart for that day, she determined the best time to launch the site would be at 7.36 p.m. EDT. So, we did!
RC: What other hobbies or interests do you enjoy?
MH: I love entertaining and hanging with friends and family
RC: Favorite book?
MH: Do coloring books count?
RC: Favorite film?
MH: Out of Africa.
RC: How have you spent your time during quarantine?
MH: Most of the time I have been working to create a great assortment of brands and products for Retail Czar. I’ve also been relearning 4th grade with my twin boys, Henry and Liam!
RC: What do you most look forward to doing post Covid 19?
MH: I’m looking forward to traveling; not worrying about our country; seeing my children play with their friends…there’s a lot to look forward to.